Fans of programmes about the countryside are flocking to online retailers to kit themselves out with North Face’s latest range of ‘high performance’ indoor clothing.
Charcoal-impregnated to cope with foul wind and double-seamed to keep out pie gravy, the new range is better at breathing than many of their customers.
Consumers of ‘lifestyle’ clothing have seen a period of such rapid growth over Christmas that North Face’s elastic gussetry engineers are being stretched to the limit.
“Advances in extreme clothing move at quite a pace”, explained Bear Grylls, an expert at pretending that being outside is really difficult. “Certainly faster than most of the wearers.”
Grylls is proud of his new range of clothes, which can resist crisp grease as well as pizza.
“Our new Venture Pro Extreme trousers can withstand the rigorous demands of peak viewing, but they’re just as at home in the sweating valley of a backside. They adapt to you like a second skin, although it’s a skin without blotches or cellulite.”
But even in today’s sanitized world, some hardy souls are out there, braving the elements.
“We were amazed at how well clothes designed for the North Face of the Eiger can adapt to the East wing of the Trafford Centre”, said Grylls. “In some ways, it’s a far more hostile environment.”
While the journey from the car park to the side entrance of John Lewis can be chilly, Grylls’ team has deliberately shifted their focus from thermal efficiency to more prominent logos.
“You’ve got to get the basics right”, said Grylls.
“We learned a lot from our work with the BBC, where our rugged, no-nonsense label helped convince the public that when Nicholas Witchell is standing in Pall Mall, he’s taking outside broadcasting very seriously.”
North Face claims the new range is their toughest yet. “When you’re standing alone in Monsoon, while your girlfriend chooses hair bands, you need a jacket that can shrug off any hint of wetness”, confirmed Grylls.
“Our brand tells others ‘I’m a rugged hunter-gatherer’, even if you do need to stop and get your breath back between the food hall and Claire’s Accessories.”